Being an entrepreneur and business owner takes a wide variety of skills, one of the most important, however, is the ability to build relationships effectively.
It is not enough anymore to only have the right products and services; you must also build relationships with a range of people to succeed, not only your clients or customers but also investors, peers, employees and suppliers. Whether you are a product based or service based business and whoever you are selling to, ultimately you will be dealing with a person.
Some of the relationships that you form will come very naturally. Some, however, may be more strategic. Building strategic relationships are about building bridges so that both sides can gain leverage from the partnership. For the most successful strategic alliances, both businesses need to be in alignment with common goals and mutually beneficial objectives.
No man (or woman!) is an island, and you will need to work with other people for your business to succeed. The key to building the right business relationships is all based around the know, like, and trust factor. The more they know, like and trust you – the more natural the relationship becomes.
Remember, no amount of money can make someone like you and so you must do some ‘relationship marketing’ to help people get to know you better. If you invest time and focus on building the right business relationships, the sales and referrals are sure to follow.
The type of strategic business relationships and partnerships you have can be a huge help when building brand trust and customer loyalty.
Having the right business relationships can:
- Help you to build ambassadors who will advocate your business to their network, which could result in referrals. Referrals from another brand or business come highly regarded, and word of mouth referrals still count for a lot and contribute to business success.
- Create collaboration opportunities helping you to reach new audiences. Also, when people see your business partner with another business or influencer, it provides your clients and prospects with the proof that someone else believes in your business. Influencers are already respected within their industry, and so their customers trust their opinion.
- Reduce marketing costs. If the number of referrals you are getting increases, you may have to spend less money on marketing. This is also true if you can collaborate and share costs with another business. Not only can you half your outgoings, but you can also increase capacity and visibility.
To build the right business relationships, you first need to be clear about your vision. Ask yourself:
- Do you know what you want to achieve?
- Do you know who or what type of people can help you get there?
Once you know the answers to these questions, you will be able to determine the best places to find those people and for you to network. It is worth bearing in mind that often to find these people, you have to network outside of your immediate network.
Some of my top tips when it comes to building strong relationships are:
- Prioritise the relationships you want to nurture and focus on the quality of relationships you have rather than the quantity. Think about where you will generate the best returns and opportunities and invest your time wisely there.
- Be interested, listen and genuinely offer your help to people. Reciprocate kind gestures, share information and value and be open to connecting people.
- Focus on adding value to people’s lives or businesses, and people will remember you for it.
- Ensure you are nurturing both online and offline relationships, try and remember the details or the little things.
- Review your relationships and ask yourself if they are working or serving you and your business
“So next time you are attending a networking or business event keep some of these tips in the back of your mind. If you spend your time wisely and nurture the right kind of business relationships for you and your business, you never know what opportunities they could bring!”Tayo Salami
Need some help with this or any aspect of building business running your business successfully? Get in touch here or with me on firstname.lastname@example.org.